09/02/2013 02:50 EDT | Updated 11/01/2013 05:12 EDT

Beekeepers, vintners rediscover nectar of the gods: mead, the oldest fermented beverage

GROTON, Vt. - Once called the nectar of the gods, the oldest fermented beverage is seeing a renaissance.

Beekeepers and vintners are rediscovering mead, an alcoholic drink made of fermented honey and water. These days, fruits, spices and even carbonation are being added for distinct flavours that aren't a far cry from the beverage favoured during the Middle Ages.

American Mead Makers Association President Chris Webber estimates there are 200 to 250 commercial mead makers in the U.S., up from just 100 five years ago.

Some are beekeepers-turned-mead makers looking to find other ways to sell their honey. Others are craft beer brewers-turned-mead makers with some now dabbling in beekeeping to produce their own honey.

A Vermont meadery called Artesano opened in 2008 and says it sells out of 20,000 bottles a year.